Friday, December 2, 2016

The Face of Trump

Pareidolia, we do so love you here at Augoeides. For anybody unfamiliar with the term, pareidolia describes the tendency of our minds to see human-like faces in the patterns of ordinary objects. The most famous of these, of course, involve seeing the face of Jesus in all sorts of odd places, stories that I've been covering for years.

But today, Huffington Post is reporting on a British woman preparing chili who saw a much more sinister face when she cut open a red pepper, a face perfectly suited to the current American political conversation - the screaming face of Donald Trump.

A woman in southern England was slicing up a red bell pepper when she spotted what she said was the image of President-elect Donald Trump screaming straight back at her.

“A discussion about Trump and the state of the world was going on while the veg was being sliced up,” Janet Ayers told The Register. “It was as if the pepper was mirroring the conversation.”

Ayers posted a photograph of her curious find to Facebook on Nov. 26, and it’s now setting the British media abuzz.

The image appears above, and while funny, it does highlight an interesting point. Prior to all the media exposure generated by Trump's presidential campaign, would anyone have noticed the resemblance? Jesus is a popular figure in majority Catholic countries because Catholic lore allows for the images of Jesus, Mary, and hardly anybody else to appear all over the place. So if anybody sees a face, they figure it has to be Jesus. And let me tell you, some of those images look like totally generic faces and don't really resemble renderings of Jesus at all.

The media outlets have been fixated on Trump as he assembles his administration, prompting the conversation about him - which is probably really what triggered the identification. Meanwhile, you think that it looks like Trump because I just told you it was in the headline, before you had a chance to process the image. But that's exactly how it works, and why this pepper totally wants to make chili great again.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not the Bees!

Now this sounds like a fun spell that I totally have to learn. According to Kenyan news outlet Tuko, a man hired a witchdoctor to summon a swarm of bees to hunt down a stolen motorcycle. This reminds me of the "mystical snakes and bees" unleashed against Boko Haram back in 2014, so it sounds to me like there are a number of folks in Kenya and Nigeria who know how to cast it.

Residents of Mbooni, Makueni County were left in shock after a man sent a swarm of bees to recover his stolen motorbike.

The unidentified man is said to have been robbed of his motorbike and went to consult a witchdoctor in order to recover his property.

In an incident that has shocked many, the man is said to have sent a large swarm of bees that invaded the local market and landed on the stolen motorbike.

The bees sent the thief running for dear life as they settled on the motorbike.

This spell has all sorts of potential applications. Somebody messes with your family? Bees! Something gets stolen? Bees! Somebody is making your life miserable at work? Bees! It's not just regular vengeance, it's amusing vengeance - though I expect for anybody with an allergy to bee stings, facing it would likely be pretty terrifying. African bees are more aggressive than their European counterparts, and they can sting multiple times without injuring themselves - so that can't be good.

Liber 777 associates bees with Binah, the sephira of Saturn. So that would probably be one approach. Nema also associates bees with the goddess Ma'at, so that might mean the path of Libra is a possibility. Another might be the path of Leo, the "Power of Training Wild Beasts." Clearly, some experimentation is required. But if I can really manage to figure it out, just deploying it once would make all the work totally worth it. You know, as long as I could watch the whole thing unfold. Because awful though it is, summoning a swarm of bees is also pretty darn funny.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ipswich Accepted by Moonfire Publishing

Cross-posted from my author website.

It's been a while since I published my last fiction piece, but that's not because I haven't been writing any. Arcana, my first novel, was published by Pendraig back in late 2009. At the time, Pendraig was primarily an esoteric press, and my debut novel was their first fiction release. Arcana did what most indie novels do - it racked up some sales the first year it was released and then tapered off substantially.

Pendraig would go on to publish my Enochian series, but over the last couple of years the company made the decision to focus on esoteric titles rather than pursuing more fiction releases. As their esoteric titles are their best selling books, that probably is a good business decision for them. But it also meant that Ipswich, the second novel in my Guild series, was without a publisher. Fortunately, that has now changed. Ipswich was picked up by Moonfire Publishing, a new independent press here in Minnesota. The novel has been scheduled for a spring release if all goes according to plan.

Ipswich was shaped by some of the feedback I received from Arcana. The biggest problem with my debut novel is basically that people either loved or hated all of the technical magical exposition. All of that is in there by design, but treating urban fantasy more like hard science fiction was not what mainstream readers were used to, and resulted in a book that mostly appealed to folks already interested in esotercism. And the fact is, statistically speaking, there aren't very many of those. So the idea behind Ipswich was to write a novel that was less heavy on the technical magick side and structured more like other urban fantasy titles that are currently popular.

I suppose time will tell how popular Ipswich turns out to be, but so far my trial readers have agreed that it is more readable, more fun, and less technical than Arcana. It tells the story of Sara Winchester, a young heiress and newly empowered magician. With the help of the Guild, she explores her newfound powers and the mystery of her mother's untimely death. In her search for answers, she confronts a killer who can control the spirits of the dead and the machinations of a rival order seeking the Guild's destruction. It also introduces some of the alternate history of the Guild universe, in which the direct Winchester family line never died out and the Winchester corporation became one of the world's major multinationals.

I am currently in the process of working with an editor on the manuscript, but once it is released you'll be the first to know. Watch this space for future announcements.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Planetary Work - Mars

This article is Part Three in a series. Part One can found here, and Part Two can be found here.

Today I will be moving on to working with Mars, the next planet in sequence according to the Chaldean Order. Liber 777 associates Mars with "Works of Wrath and Vengeance." So Mars, like Saturn, rules over negative magical operations such as curses. Also like Saturn, Mars may be called upon for protection from such operations, as these sorts of curses represent the planet's sphere of influence.

Mars is referred to as the Lesser Malefic in astrology, and generally speaking, curses associated with Mars are less deadly than those associated with Saturn. The classic Saturn curse is a straighforward death spell, whereas Mars curses tend to be operations designed to cause pain and strife rather than outright destruction. Still, even if a Mars curse is not necessarily deadly, it can be quite detrimental.

For a complete protection spell, the best way to go is to perform operations for both Saturn and Mars. The Saturn operation protects against the bigger, more sweeping "death spell" type curses, while the Mars operation protects against the smaller, day-to-day curses that get in the way of living the kind of life that you want. These should be performed as two entirely separate operations, as multiple planets rarely combine well in a single rite without very careful design and calibration.

Even though Mars curses are in some way less serious than those attributed to Saturn, they also are more common. An intuitive psychic effect triggered by extreme anger generally falls under the Mars category, and these are the sorts of "curses" that are usually thrown about. Keep in mind, though, that magical attacks are still pretty rare overall, and before concluding that you are being afflicted by one, you need to explore every other possible cause for what you are experiencing.

To review, in Qabalah the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Satanist Versus Satanist

Last week Rooster put up an article on the growing feud between Anton LaVey's Church of Satan and the upstart, activist Satanic Temple led by Lucien Greaves. I always find it odd when disputes erupt between similar organizations over what seem to be small differences. The Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple are both examples of atheistic Satanism, and agree on most things besides, it would seem, style and media presence.

LaVey's version of the religion grew, and still exists. But whatever fun they used to have, it's dropped away. The Church doesn't have regular meetings or temples. And a reverend claims that even the infamous orgies are rare. In some ways, the Church of Satan is now disturbingly square. They do not "condone illegal activities," their website says. On that site, theis message comes across as preachy high school goths whose denim jacket said "future anarchist" but whose marching-band flute-playing and front-row seat in AP Algebra said "future sexually-frustrated tax attorney."

Although, just as a point, plenty of occultists like myself don't care much for going around breaking laws. If you have to do that to have a good time, it seems to me that you just lack imagination. But anyway...

But the Church of Satan laid the groundwork to make satanism semi-acceptable in modern society. And now they're understandably mad because the Temple, new and bold, has dropped them like a hot skull, dropped the incense and the rituals and the chants and all the other self-important mumbo-jumbo of the old Church. They're simply out there kicking ass, challenging kings and presidents and getting interviewed by Megyn Kelly.

As an outsider, it's easy to see both kinds of satanism as a joke or a sideshow. But that's a mistake. The Satanic Temple is a real challenge to Christians who want America to be a Christian-only nation. And that's a lot of Christians, including possibly our next Vice President. This is part of why the Satanic Temple continues to grow so quickly. They added thousands of members in the few hours after the election, Greaves said.

I will say that it seems strange to me to bother with complex rituals if you don't believe in anything paranormal. Magick is a technology, after all, and I think it is a profound mistake to treat it as some kind of fashion statement. On the other hand, you can be an atheist and still believe in the paranormal, so maybe that's the big difference - the Satanic Temple rejects paranormal technology and focuses on activism.

Still, you really can't say at this point that the Satanic Temple has not accomplished "change in conformity with will." Their many legal challenges have produced concrete results that stand against the the Poor Oppressed Christians who are desperate to write the privilege they fear losing into law. Plus, who doesn't love their Satanic coloring book? I mean, that was a big win right there.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Planetary Work - Jupiter

This article is Part Two in a series. Part One can found here.

Today I will be moving on to working with Jupiter, the next planet in sequence according to the Chaldean Order. Liber 777 associates Jupiter with the "Power of Acquiring Political and Other Ascendancy." So Jupiter is the planet that you would work with for political operations. Also, because our modern society so closely associates money with status, Jupiter can be called upon for financial gain, and as such this article may be thought of as an updated version of this one.

The Sun can also be called upon for money, as it corresponds to the "Power of Acquiring Wealth." But there is a difference, at least in my experience. If you are wanting to get more money working a job as opposed to running your own business, Jupiter is more appropriate. And since that's how most people make their living, the money spell that I published ten years ago calls upon Jupiter. The Sun is more appropriate when you are working for yourself, such as running your own business, or to increase the value of investments and the like.

Jupiter is referred to as the Major Benefic in astrology, but just like Saturn, the Major Malefic, it has two sides. Since Jupiter rules over things like jobs and political offices, it can be called upon to make a political candidate lose or cause a person to be fired or demoted. A commenter on Facebook last week wondered if working with Jupiter might be associated with gaining weight (since the planet rules expansion in general), and while I suppose it could be used that way, I've never seen it just happen on its own as some sort of side effect.

To review, in Qabalah the planets correspond to the double letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters are so named because they correspond to two specific sounds each, and this is reflected in the dual nature of the planets. On the Tree of Life, each planet corresponds to both a sephira or a path. Many magicians refer to the sephiroth as "spheres," and you may catch me doing that sometimes as well. It is, however, not a direct translation. The word actually means "emanations" - as in, emanations of divinity. But they are drawn as circles on most diagrams of the Tree of Life, and in addition, "sephira" and "sphere" sound very similar in English.

Friday, November 18, 2016

VICE on Love Spells

VICE has an article up today about love spells, or as they put it, "lonely dudes using magick to get laid." That's a crude way to put it, but it's often accurate. Among others, the author of the article interviewed the blogosphere's own Frater MC, who is currently working on a book on magical seduction.

I would like to think articles like this mean that magick is getting a higher profile in the media. I also appreciate that it includes an interview with a serious worker of magick, as opposed to some of the "media figures" out there whose main legacy seems to be turning magick into some sort of big joke at the expense of genuine practitioners.

Now, this isn't the type of magic outlined by pick-up artists or pulling a rabbit out of a hat so you can get into the pants of your hot neighbour. This is "magick," real men casting spells thinking that it will, honest-to-god, get them laid.

In case you were wondering, the spelling of magick with the "k" comes from occult OG Aleister Crowley and it's used to differentiate between stage magic and occult magick.

"Seduction is, of course, one of the main reasons people come to Magic, and from the days of the PGM [Greco-Roman Egypt magic] to modernity there have been more techniques developed for that purpose than any other, except maybe for attaining prosperity," magician and author Frater MC told VICE.

"People who come to Magick do so often out of desperation, necessity or great desire. They haven't been able to achieve their goals by any logical means so they become more and more willing to try something outside the box in hopes that it might work."

Frater MC is co-authoring a book focused on magickal seduction right now but says his certainly wouldn't be the first. Books, especially E-books, on the subject are littered all over Amazon and people's personal websites.

Until the recent activation of comment moderation, my own love spell article was a magnet for "testimonials" alleging the power of various spellcasters advertising the service, mostly from Africa. My new planetary work series that I am posting on Mondays will include an updated version of that ritual, at least once I get to Venus.

Frater MC is entirely correct about many people coming to magick out of a sense of desperation, which is really too bad. You should be using magick to set up your life the way you want it before anything ever comes to that, but I will grant based on my own experience that it can be hard to do. It actually takes more effort to keep up my practices when things are going well than it does when I have a problem that needs solving.